College football: Georgia, Alabama, and Auburn set up a thrilling November in the SEC
TUSCALOOSA — Got a cavity just thinking about how sweet this November could be.
Alabama, Georgia and Auburn all won Saturday to set up a three-team round robin that will determine who wins the SEC West and plays Georgia in the conference title game Dec. 2 in Atlanta.
The No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide (9-0, 6-0), which is No. 2 in the College Football Playoff poll, held up its end of the bargain.
LSU played Alabama tough as expected. The Tigers got after quarterback Jalen Hurts, had a good game plan on offense, but Alabama made the necessary plays to extend its winning streak over LSU to seven.
The Tide won 24-10 at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but lost two key players in linebackers Shaun Hamilton and Mack Wilson.
Hamilton, who had a season-ending injury in the SEC title game against Florida last year, threw his helmet while on the ground and was helped off the field after suffering another knee injury.
Wilson was taken to the locker room via cart with a foot injury. Neither returned to the game. Saban said both players are "probably out" for the season.
And Alabama's best player, Minkah Fitzpatrick, played through what looked like a hamstring injury he suffered in the first quarter.
Saban said they'll do a MRI Sunday on Fitzpatrick, but thinks he's not hurt that bad because he did play even if it was a position in which he blitzed from short distance.
"He was begging me to play," Saban said. "He wanted to play. He wanted to play. Guy's a great competitor."
The Tide has played through injuries all season, but these three are big ones moving forward.
No. 2 Georgia (9-0, 6-0), which is No. 1 in the playoff poll, held up its end of the bargain.
The unbeaten Bulldogs clinched the SEC East to secure a trip to Atlanta for the conference title game by beating a gritty South Carolina team 24-10.
The Dawgs are SEC EAST CHAMPS! pic.twitter.com/Lehiiltlw5— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 5, 2017
Will Muschamp won't win SEC Coach of the Year, but should get some votes.
Georgia didn't look like the best team in college football, but it got the win to set up an SEC showdown next week at Auburn.
The No. 15 Tigers (7-2, 5-1) upheld their end of the bargain.
No. 14 in the playoff poll, Auburn went to Kyle Field and left with a 42-27 win over Texas A&M. The Tigers are now 3-0 in front of the 12th Man in College Station.
So how is all this going to shake out?
Georgia doesn't need to beat Auburn to play for a conference title, but it can't afford to fall at Jordan-Hare Stadium when it comes to making the playoffs.
Auburn needs a win to keep its slim hopes alive of becoming the first two-loss team to make the playoffs. That's going to be a doozy.
Alabama won't have a cake walk at Mississippi State next week. The Bulldogs had a struggle against UMass, but pulled it out. They'll have the Tide at home. Cowbells will be ringing, but it won't lead to Mississippi State winning. Tide will take care of Bulldogs.
Those who want a great Iron Bowl should root for Auburn to beat Georgia.
If Auburn stuns the playoff committee's No. 1 team, it would be riding high going into the Alabama game with a spot in the SEC title game on the line.
Those who want the epic SEC title game between two unbeatens, root for Georgia.
The last time that happened was in 2009 when No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Alabama came into it both 12-0. Alabama won 32-13 before winning its first national title under coach Nick Saban.
Oh yeah. This is going to be such a sweet November.
This article is written by Duane Rankin from The Montgomery Advertiser and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.